I love this eighth chapter of Ezra! We have seen God working throughout the book of Ezra but often it was behind the scenes so to speak. Here, as this second contingency of the remnant of Israel return to Jerusalem, we can’t miss one of God’s greatest blessings and clear depiction of who He is in our lives. That is His Gracious Hand upon us.
In the beginning of chapter 8 Ezra lists the family heads and those registered with them who returned with him. Ezra assembles them at the canal and then finds one important family missing. The Levites. Ezra’s main goal is to restore the rebuilt temple as God’s dwelling place with them in Jerusalem. He would have a hard time doing that without the Priests from the family of Levi who were to carry out the temple duties. He puts out a search and recognized it was God’s Gracious Hand that brought Sherebiah, a capable man and descendant of Levi along with 18 men, Hashabiah and Jeshaiah along with 20 men and then another 220 of the temple servants that David and the officials had established to assist the Levites.
Before they started on their journey Ezra proclaims a fast so they could humble themselves before their God and ask for a safe journey for they and their children. I think the next verse, 22, shows much about Ezra and his faith. “I was ashamed to ask the King for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake Him.” That is why they fasted and prayed for safe travel.
Wow! Have I ever bragged so much about the Gracious Hand of God in my life that I would be afraid to ask for help from those I bragged to? I can’t think of a time that was true in my life. I love to share my loving, gracious God and what He has done in my life but to do it to the extent that I would be ashamed to admit a need? No.
Verse 23 lets us know that God answered their prayers and they made it safely. It wasn’t that they had a smooth trip with no obstacles. “He protected us from enemies and bandits along the way.” I would love to hear the details of the trip but Ezra gives us the most important detail. God’s Gracious Hand was upon them and they arrived safely with the silver, gold and sacred articles for the temple.
Today I want to grow in knowing and become more aware of God’s Gracious Hand upon me and all I love. I want to share what He does daily to show it. Dear God, thank you for being a God who is personally involved in my life. Thank you that it is your gracious personal touch that blesses me each and every day. You not only allow me to be your child as you sit enthroned in the heavens, you reach out your Holy Hand and place it upon me. Tears come Lord at that thought. It so humbles me and so lifts me at the same time. Thank you! Thank you!
How about you? Read the 8th Chapter of Ezra and tell us what God shows you about who He is. Don’t miss the opportunity each day to be in His Word and to grow in knowing Him. Please leave a comment on what you see there. I would love to learn from you! Much love! May God’s Gracious Hand be upon you and yours today!